|This article is about the Comic Series character. You may be looking for his TV Series or Road to Survival counterparts, or the Novel Series character.|
- "No. I should have left the Hilltop after the third expansion. I've done my time in civilization. I like living out here, how quiet it is. Also... I can't leave you guys on your own. What would you do without your cranky old neighbor?"
- —Earl to Sophia when asked if he wants to move back into town.[src]
Earl Sutton is a character first encountered in Issue 95 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. He is the blacksmith of Hilltop Colony, who provides gear and weaponry to the survivors. Several years after Rick Grimes' death, Earl left the Hilltop, retiring from his duties as a blacksmith, and moved to a cabin in the woods, next to the Grimes family.
Nothing is known about Earl's life before or as the outbreak began, except that he was a blacksmith.
At some point during the outbreak, he joined the Hilltop Colony where he began to create spears and other types of weapons for the guards, such as Kal and Eduardo, being the blacksmith of the Hilltop.
Paul Monroe introduces Maggie to Earl and the two get acquainted. He and Earl discuss Paul's nickname and the controversy behind it being "Jesus". After being asked by Paul, he agrees to make Maggie a small personal knife for protection.
After the battle at the Hilltop, Earl is seen talking with Maggie. Earl is working on creating more weapons and he and Maggie have a conversation while he is working. He says that if he could work 24 hours straight every day to help the war effort, he would. Maggie then remarks that he is a good man.
Sometime during the two-year timeskip, he and Carl Grimes talked about the possibility of the latter starting to apprentice with him. After Carl successfully convinces his father, he travels to the Hilltop so he can start working under Earl. When Carl comes to visit and approach about apprenticeship, he sees that Earl has taken on Rolland as an apprentice and leaves, dejected.
Later during communal lunch, Earl tells Carl to join him at his table. Carl explains his plans to move to the Hilltop and that that he's sad he cannot be Earl's apprentice, to which Earl responds, "Carl, who told you I could only have one apprentice?" He presents his offer to Carl to begin the very next day, and he enthusiastically accepts.
Earl is supervising Carl on his first day of smithing and compliments him on his arrowhead. Later, when Paul rides into the Hilltop Colony with an injured Darius, yelling for Doctor Carson, Earl comes running, along with Oscar, helps Darius off the horse and takes him to Doctor Carson. Earl is later seen working with Carl, dismissing him and telling him to ignore the bully's father, who is creepily staring at him.
Earl is present during the hanging of Gregory. Later he has a booth at the fair where he sells various blades and knifes. Unknowingly he meets Alpha who disguised as a normal resident and not wearing a whisperer outfit. He comments to Ezekiel that she seemed "strange".
Earl is the one that informs Carl Grimes that both he and Lydia are safe and are welcome to go back to Alexandria. We also is present when Michonne brings Aaron back after an encounter with the Whisperers. Earl helps get Aaron to a doctor.
When the Whisperers attack the Hilltop Earl is one of the members who fights them off. When most of Hilltop is burned down or destroyed he, among everyone else travels to Alexandria.
Earl and the rest of Hilltop arrive at Alexandria as they are taken over by the mega heard. He later helps clear the heard, is there right after Andrea dies, and helps clean up the mess in Alexandria.
After Alexandria is cleaned up Earl, and everyone else from Hilltop head back home, and begin rebuilding their community.
With everyone pulling together and with help in labor and materials from the Kingdom significant progress is made in the rebuild.
Earl lives on his own as a neighbor to the Grimes family. He lives with multiple dogs on his farm, likely to protect him at his old age. He was visited by Carl, Sophia and Andrea, who suggested he move to another neighborhood, which had more older people, that he could be friends with, such as Brianna. He declined as he was happy where he was.
This list shows the victims Earl has killed:
Rick and Earl have a good relationship. After the war against the Saviors, Rick requested Earl to make him something for his right arm. Earl builds him a prosthetic that Rick wears from A New Beginning and onward. After Rick's death in Issue 192, Earl is among the crowd of people who want to go to Alexandria to pay their respects.
After the 25 year timeskip in Issue 193, Earl is thankful towards Rick for helping build a safe world and holds him in very high regard.
Paul and Earl seem to be on the same grounds with each other and overall friends, though the usage of Paul's nickname seems to offend him. They both work with each other and are ready for the war with the Saviors.
Gregory is shown to be least liked by Earl; questioning his leadership, his role, and his motives. Though he has some respect for the man for running the Hilltop, he is still displeased with his actions. Earl had no objections with Gregory being overthrown by newcomer Maggie Greene.
Earl seemed friendly towards Maggie and was happily willing to make her a custom knife, he was also very charming towards her, kissing her hand. Later in Issue 125, Maggie is seen walking throughout the Hilltop and she pauses to talk to Earl. Earl says that he would work 24 hours every day, ending up with her remarking he is a good man.
Carl and Earl have a positive relationship. Carl admires Earl for his handiwork, and at some point in time Earl recognized his potential as a craftsman and has taken him on as an apprentice.
After the 25 year time-skip Carl and Earl are now neighbors and remain good friends. Earl has apparently been trying to tell Carl his job as a messenger is dangerous and believes he should've remained a blacksmith. Likewise, Carl and Sophia express concern for Earl, as he lives all alone, and attempt to convince him to move into a care home. Earl denies the offer, asking them what they'd do without their "Cranky old neighbor".
- Earl is the only known blacksmith in The Walking Dead.